Treu relishes new rugby role
Port Elizabeth - Paul Treu will be assisting head coach Brendan Venter when a South African Premier XV side take on the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday at 3pm.
"It is exciting to get into a different environment and learn from someone like Brendan Venter," said Treu.
"He is one of the best coaches around and is an awesome opportunity to get my feet into the 15-man code."
The relevance of this friendly contest is that it will provide overseas based players with a chance to impress on home soil.
But for Treu, it is more a case of capping a season in which he once again converted average schoolboy players into world-class athletes.
"Who knows, coaching a 15 man team could be something that I could get used to but at the moment Sevens is still my game," he quipped.
Another exciting prospect for Treu is that his team will do battle against a couple of men who are products of the SA Sevens structures.
Kings captain Mzwandile Stick and Mpho Mbiyozo were key players in the shorter format of the game while Siyanda Grey and Luke Watson also have a fair idea of what Sevens is all about.
"There is a lot of hype around this game and working with some of our ex-Sevens players (and current players) I can see the guys are really psyched for the game," said Treu.
"There are also a few players who would like to show the national selectors that they are still up there and that they still deserve an opportunity to be looked-at."
And although the Premier XV side only managed two full training sessions leading up to the match, Treu feels that his men will be in good shape because of their motivation for this match.
"It is more the desire of these players who want to show the rest of South Africa that they shouldn’t be forgotten."
Looking back at the Sevens season where a new breed of Springboks rose from the ashes to go on and conquer some of the best teams in the world -- The Blitzbokke finished runner’s up in the World Sevens Series standings -- Treu said that his squad will receive further assistance from the South African Rugby Union.
"We are going to see a lot more consistency and continuity in our squad.
"There are some players who we signed last year who now have two-year contracts."
SARU chief executive officer Jurie Roux confirmed this week that rugby’s governing body are onboard as far as Sevens planning is concerned.
"We are planning a number of new initiatives that we will be rolling out soon but we are on our way to the Olympics and we need to qualify for the Olympics," said Roux.
"For that to happen, we can’t rely only on 15 players and we need to build that programme, so that in two years time when we need to qualify, for the Olympics, we do so."
In the past, players who have excelled on the Sevens circuit, were drafted into Currie Cup or Super Rugby franchises because of the skills they developed with the Blitzbokke.
Treu now feels that the traditional player exodus will be dealt with.
"Where it used to be a problem in the past when we lost a lot of players at the end of the season to the 15 man came, I think we are going to see a lot more continuity as we head towards the Olympic qualification tournament in 2014."
Looking back at the past Sevens season, Treu praised his older players for the way they helped youngster who were still in school the previous year to adapt to the intense physical demands and challenges the shorter format requires.
"It was always going to be tough with six guys making their debuts in Dubai and George, but the way the senior guys pulled the team together for the latter part of the season was great and something that will allow us to build momentum in future."
On Saturday Treu will be a 15-a-side coach and when closely analysing what he has accomplished with very limited resources over the years, it should not come as a surprise if he one day reaches similar heights at national level in the more popular version of the sport he lives for.
Premier XV squad:
Cecil Afrika (Springbok Sevens), Danwel Demas (Aironi, Italy), Bernardo Botha (Springbok Sevens), Sam Gerber (Bayonne, France), Gcobani Bobo (Newcastle Falcons, England), Wilmaure Louw (Cheetahs Super Rugby), Matt Rosslee (Griquas), Marnitz Boshoff (Blue Bulls), Heini Adams (Begles-Bordeaux), Stefan Basson (Rovigo, Italy), Chris Dry (Springbok Sevens), Boom Prinsloo (Springbok Sevens), Doppies le Roux (Pumas), Nick Fenton-Wells (UCT), Wessel Jooste (Bourgoin, France), Juandré Kruger (Bulls Super Rugby), Petrus du Plessis (Saracens, England), Danie Saayman (Castres, France), Rayno Gerber (Stade Français, France), Brett Sharman (Northampton Saints, England), Hans van Dyk (Pumas).